Briefly Noted

Plastic Free July

By Staff

Choose to refuse single use plastic during July–an international challenge

The Plastic Free July Challenge began in 2011 as a local comunity initiative in Perth, Australia to raise awareness about the amount of single-use plastic we use and toss. By 2014, over 14,000 people from 69 countries participated. This year, the campaign is expected to reach one million people from 130 countries.

Why is single-use plastic an issue? Plastic breaks up, not down—pieces become smaller and smaller, but it’s still plastic. Except for the small amount of plastic that has been incinerated, all the plastic ever produced still exists, eventually becoming microplastics capable of carrying bacteria and of being ingested by living creatures. Why use something for a few seconds that will last the rest of your life?

Of course you can experiment with this idea on your own. But if you’d like to have a group experience, register online. Here’s how the challenge works:

  1. Agree that you will attempt to refuse single-use plastic—plastic grocery bags, bin liners, doggy doo bags, coffee cup lids, cling film, cups, cutlery, items with excessive packaging, milk jugs, water & soda bottles, disposable razors, packing foam, disposable diapers, single-serve coffee pods, produce bags, menstrual products, etc.
  2. Remember: It’s a challenge, not a competition. Do what you can.
  3. Keep a “dilemma bag” in which you collect any unavoidable single-use plastic.
  4. You choose how long you play. Even a day can be eye-opening.

The Plastic Free July website offers ideas, recipes and tips on living a plastic-free life—for cleaning, cooking, food storage, gardening, gifts, meals on the go, personal care, pet care, shopping and travel as well as links to additional resources.

Okay, we know it’s just a clever thing to say — “plastic free.” The truth is, one trip to the hospital and you’ve used a lifetime supply of single-use plastic. These are not items we want to skimp on if they are needed. Our houses and vehicles are full of plastic. It’s the stuff we use frivolously, thoughtlessly, that are the real focus of this experiment.

Participate via Twitter and Facebook. See the abundant list of ideas and recipes on the website and check out the FAQs.

This article was originally published on June 7, 2017.